49ers vs. Packers: Breaking down who has the advantage at each position?

Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers against the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers against the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers
Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2) kicks against the San Francisco 49ers  Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

0-0. 8:15 p.m. ET. 42. Fox. Saturday, Jan. 22. 1-0. 49. Packers -6

Niner Noise previews the NFL playoffs matchup between the 49ers and Packers, combing through each position and revealing who has the edge.

For San Francisco 49ers fans who experienced the 1990s, the 2022 NFL playoffs has to feel like a revisiting of all those great Niners postseason campaigns of a generation ago.

First, San Francisco upended the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round, a continuation of what had been one of the league’s most storied playoff rivalries of all time. And, just like the heyday of the 49ers’ late 1990s postseason campaigns, now the Green Bay Packers stand in the way of the red and gold advancing even further.

All the names of those 1990s playoff games have changed, of course. The outcomes have tilted a bit, too, as Green Bay frequently demolished many a Niners’ postseason campaign over two decades ago.

Since then, San Francisco has eliminated the Packers in the playoffs three times in a row, in 2013, 2014 and, most recently, in the 2020 NFC Championship game.

Currently, the oddsmakers over at WynnBET have Green Bay as a six-point favorite. But let’s break down the matchup, position by position, to help determine who has the final edge in terms of strength.

Starting off with a weakness for both sides, special teams.

49ers Special Teams vs. Packers Special Teams

The 49ers’ woes in the critical third phase of the game can’t be understated.

Whether it’s muffed punt returns, gaffes on fake punts or allowing opponents to return kickoffs for an average of 23.1 yards per takeout, 10th worst during the regular season, the Niners haven’t been good here.

At all.

Interestingly enough, though, Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric actually favors San Francisco over Green Bay here, listing the 49ers at No. 26 (minus-2.4 percent) in contrast to the Packers dead last at No. 32 (minus-5.2 percent).

Perhaps it’s due to the fact Niners kicker Robbie Gould has successfully made 87 percent of his field-goal tries this season, way above Packers kicker Mason Crosby’s 73.5 mark, which is third worst among qualifiers.

This is far from saying San Francisco is safe from its own special teams mistakes, but it’s good to know the red and gold are slightly better here.

Edge: 49ers